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Sunday 30 April 2017

Man 'used fake passport to gain mortgage and set up drug factory'

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A MAN used a false name, a fabricated PPS number and a fake passport to get a €380,000 mortgage for a house he allegedly turned into a cannabis factory.

The details of the "unusual situation" emerged as Bank of Scotland Ireland was yesterday granted a possession order for a bungalow near Navan, Co Meath.

High Court Judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne warned against revealing the man's identity, the assumed name, and the exact location of the property because he is expected to face criminal charges before the courts in January.

It emerged during the case that gardai raided the premises in November 2008 and it appeared there was a cannabis production factory in operation.

The unusual case was just one of eight possession orders granted yesterday for various properties, including a commercial retail unit on O'Connell Street in Waterford.

Five of the possession orders were granted to Start Mortgages, one to Bank of Ireland for a commercial loan, one to Bank of Scotland Ireland and another to Stepstone Mortgage Funding.

They involved properties in Donegal, Meath, Louth, Longford, Kilkenny, Sligo and Waterford. In four cases the mortgage-holders, including a couple on a housing waiting list, had given their consent.

Counsel for the bank, Jonathan Miller, outlined the unusual situation surrounding the apparently abandoned bungalow outside Navan.

He said the man who had originally applied for the loan was "a myth", which made the order for possession more complicated as it was still in the names of the original vendors.

Documents furnished by the man included an alleged false passport and PPS number, while earnings appeared to have been fabricated.

Problems emerged when attempts were made by a solicitor to register the mortgage and property in the name provided by the buyer.

Normal

Ms Justice Dunne outlined that Bank of Scotland Ireland had provided a mortgage for €380,000 on April 2008 to the man and it had at first appeared "normal".

Documents before the court showed the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) had been in touch with the bank to verify that the alias given and the name of another man were "one and the same person".

The court was told that criminal proceedings were due to take place in January. The judge granted the order for possession, as around €406,000 was now outstanding on the property.

Ms Justice Dunne lamented that it was a common feature in many cases for the mortgage holder to owe "well in excess" of the amount originally borrowed.

The judge was speaking as she granted a possession order to Stepstone Mortgage Funding over an abandoned property in Granard, Co Longford. The couple now owed more than €223,000 after drawing down a loan of €202,500 in November 2007 with an APR rate of 10.2pc.

Earlier, the demands on the law support system were outlined. The court heard that a woman who faced having a property repossessed had been accepted for legal aid, but a letter presented to the court showed that it would be 28 weeks before she could be seen.

Irish Independent

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